I believe strongly in storing things where you use them. I think that failure to store things where they are used leads to clutter, and it’s certainly less convenient. While your first thought may be “Of course I store things where I use them,” I bet you will be able to find examples in your house where this isn’t true, especially after we walk through my morning.
Let’s think of how you begin your day. You get up, probably make your bed, use the toilet, brush your teeth, take a shower, get dressed, and everything you need for those tasks is probably close at hand. Then you head to the kitchen. Are the coffee cups stored by the coffee or tea maker? Is the sweetener or creamer in easy reach? Mine are. The coffee pot is next to the refrigerator, and the coffee and little containers of sweetener are kept in the cabinet above, next to the tea bags and coffee. The mugs are in the cabinet right next door. All these frequently used items are on the lowest shelves, so I don’t have to stand on tip-toe to access them every morning.
The next thing I do is make breakfast and, simultaneously, pack my daughters’ lunches. My daughters take some medications and vitamins with their breakfast, which I store in a drawer that I frequently access during this procedure. Like a lot of parents, I am better at remembering my children’s needs than my own, so I moved my medication from my bathroom to the same drawer. Now I remember it every day.
I keep everything I need for lunches, which either three or four people take every day, in one drawer: lunch boxes, small storage containers, and sandwich containers are stored together. (Same drawer as the medications and vitamins.) Larger plastic containers are stored in a separate drawer. Although it might seem logical to keep all the containers together, I use the larger sizes only for leftovers after meals. I use the little ones only for lunches. They aren’t used at the same time and don’t need to be stored together. To keep the drawer from getting out of control, all the small containers are confined in a box. I also try to only have matching containers. Almost all the tops match almost all the bottoms. Over time, I’ve gotten a couple different sorts, but I don’t really like that. It’s easier if I can reach right in and grab any lid, knowing it will match the bottom.
Because Clara has diabetes, a lot of her food needs to be weighed and measured. I keep all the measuring cups and spoons in the same drawer along with her scale, the list of food codes for the scale, and the carbohydrate book for anything the scale doesn’t cover. I can use the scale without even taking it out of the drawer. How handy is that? Initially, I stored it by the stove, but that wasn’t where it was used, so I ended up dragging it around the kitchen and often not putting it back. Instant clutter. What else is in this drawer? A pizza cutter and ice cream scoop. You might be thinking that I’ve lost my mind. Don’t they belong in the drawer with the wooden spoons, spatulas, and other similar tools under the cooktop? Nope. We frequently have ice cream for dessert. I can stand at this drawer, pivot 180 degrees, and grab the ice cream from the freezer. The ice cream bowls are close by too. (We use little bitty bowls for our ice cream. A serving, which is 47 grams (1/2 cup), looks like plenty in a little bowl, but it looks oh-so sad and lonely in a big cereal bowl.) It makes sense to keep the scooper right by the ice cream and the bowls. The same with the pizza cutter. We have pizza once a week – Sunday night is pizza and movie night. The pizza comes out of the oven and lands right here to be cut, so why not keep the cutter here too?
Most mornings, Clara tests her blood sugar for the first time at the kitchen island. Her extra supplies are in a cabinet just a few steps from the island, not in the bathroom. When she tests, she can check her supplies. Anything that need replenishing is just behind her.
Then it’s time to go. We grab our lunches and head toward the door. Backpacks, jackets, and instruments are stored on a bench by the front door. I keep a schedule for each girl on the wall by the bench, so we can quickly check and make sure that instruments or tennis shoes for PE (physical education) classes leave with the girls. Nothing that goes to school is stored in their rooms. That way it doesn’t get scattered about, and no one has to run back to her room. We grab them and head out.
My friend Holly’s daughters check and brush their hair before leaving the house. Rather than going back to the bathroom, or dragging hair brushes and hair ties with them from the bathroom to the front door, Holly keeps a basket of hair things by a mirror by the front door. Having the hair things at their point of use makes leaving the house easier, and it prevents clutter. Another friend lives in a unique three story house on a sharp cliff. Rather than having kids climbing back down three flights of stairs, one set of children’s toothbrushes are kept small upstairs bathroom by the kitchen (top floor). They have another set downstairs in their bathroom closest to their bedrooms (lowest floor).
Anything that is kept where it is used prevents you from scurrying around to find it and lessens the risk that it will be left out of place, abandoned where ever you used it. Sometimes this means that you may have duplicate items. A hairbrush by the front door and one in the bathroom may make perfect sense, and that’s okay. As you go through your days this week, I encourage you to think about your routines. Notice when you backtrack to get something or observe that certain items always seem to be left out. These are probably the items that need a new home, by their point of use.
Today’s Declutter Item
It has taken me a while to decide to let this cabinet go. It is a great piece of furniture but the truth is I don’t use it any more. I don’t sew often enough to warrant the amount of space it takes up. I sold it on eBay on the weekend for $200. It made another young lady very happy and I am sure she is going to get a lot more use out of than I have of late.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
Yesterday I got to have afternoon tea with a friend I mine that I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with. It was unexpected but very pleasant. My son enjoyed talking photography with her too.